So, I've been trying to follow the tablet scene for a while now, and I wanna poll the community. So far as I can tell there aren't (m)any tablets that meet my specs yet.
7ish inch form factor.
Front + Rear camera (resolution isn't particularly important)
Android 4+ or unlocked boot
1gb + ram
GPS, Acceleromoter, and most other sensors commonly used for games/apps
At least USB connectivity, expandable memory would be nice
Decent screen resolution, doesn't need to be the best
Battery life of 7+ hours
Why I want those things:
I want to be able to play games, I wanna browse the web, I want to be able to use apps that take advantage of the rear camera like enhanced reality and what-not, I want to use it for road trip navigation.
I don't have a smart phone, nor am I planning on getting one in the next 24 months.
The best contenders I've found so far are the Nexus 7 (lacking a rear camera), and the Galaxy Tab 7 (advertised with Honeycomb 3.2)
Any other suggestions? Anyone use a tablet that think it is worthy of my time even if it doesn't meet my specs?
For me, at this point in time, there are only two choices when it comes to tablets; iPad or Nexus.
Android tablets downright sucked before the Nexus 7 came along; it's got everything you ask for sans the rear camera. Augmented reality is still a new thing, and truthfully, the few good ones that employ the device's rear camera are mostly optimized for smartphones, not tablets. Other than that, Nexus devices are well supported* by the modding community, so you have quite a few custom ROMs to choose from if you want, though stock vanilla Android is pretty solid. I just updated to 4.2 last night and it's pretty polished, or at least as polished as Android is capable of being. A few things I still dislike about Android in general, but as far as the hardware goes it's a great bit of kit considering the price.
As for the Galaxy Tab (or Galaxy Tab 2, to be precise), it's slower and comes with Samsung's own bloated Touchwizz skin (I call it TurdPiss) that slows it down even more. Battery life is supposed to be comparable to the Nexus 7, but that's it. You can unlock the bootloader**, root the thing and flash a custom ROM, but you don't have as many choices for tablet ROMs, tbh. I'm not really that big a fan of Samsung in general. Every single piece of electronic or computing hardware I've bought from them has died on me, usually just after the warranty expired, and sometimes before and I had to deal with the shittiest warranty-claims department on the planet. Sorry if this sounds negatively biased, but I just despise Samsung. I won't even acknowledge the new Samsung Nexus 10, simply because being a Samsung negates whatever perks you find on Nexus branded devices.
That's all I can offer, sadly. You'll have to decide for yourself whether you can live without the rear cam. For me, it's a no-brainer: Nexus 7
* Android is still lacking quality apps on the tablet side. Sure, it's come some ways, and developer interest has increased since the Nexus 7 was released, but it's still quite a bit behind what iOS has for the iPad. Core apps are pretty much on equal footing, and if you're the type that depends on a lot of Google services, you're pretty well covered, but for the more artsy and left-field type apps, Android doesn't hold a candle to iOS. For one, Android's ongoing (though improved) audio latency issues pretty much prevent any serious audio creation/editing app developer from committing to the platform. Even on the graphic arts side of the spectrum, the amount of fragmentation (different tablets running different resolutions and different versions of Android) simply scares the more serious studios away. The situation is improving, but not at the rate we'd like, unfortunately. You're pretty well covered with gaming though, though I'm not exactly a gamer so take my words with a pinch of salt.
** FYI, no Android smartphone/tablet comes with "unlocked boot". Some have unlockable bootloaders, but none ship with them already unlocked. Again, Nexus branded devices are the most attractive in this area, since they're sanctioned as "developer devices" by Google and have toolkits (or community provided documentation) for easy unlocking and rooting.
Last edited by gutterslob (2012-11-16 11:46:57)
Point & Squirt
^ Yes, that is the one. 16GB & 32GB wifi models, and there's also a 32GB 3G/HSPA+ version that just came out a few days ago.
To be precise, the Google Play Store doesn't ship worldwide, but you can still get it from Asus dealers in many countries. The cost isn't as subsidized as what the US Play Store offers, so anyone living outside North America should expect to pay about the the equivalent of the U.K Play Store prices (sans shipping). You can also order one via proxy from a country where it's sold by Google (I got mine via my sister in Australia) if you have the connections, and the good thing about most Asus tablets (Nexus 7 included) is that their warranty is valid worldwide, unlike those from the f*ckwits at Samsung (Nexus 10) or LG (Nexus 4)!!
@orion: If you live in Japan, you should be able to get Nexus devices directly from the Japanese Play Store.
Last edited by gutterslob (2012-11-16 09:43:04)
Point & Squirt
Nexus 7 - with any other non-Nexus Android tablet you may be waiting a long time to get Android updates (and for some, you may never get updates.) You are also more likely to find that new app writers will ensure compatibility with Nexus devices before other devices.
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I think I'm going to be getting myself a Nexus 7 for Saturnalia...
The biggest problems I have with it: lack of SD expansion slot, lack of HDMI out, and lack of rear camera, are all things I can probably live without.
By the time I actually need those things there will probably be a tablet out that meets all my specs perfectly... I can upgrade then.
Gotta double check the differences between buying it from different sources now.
Last edited by orionthehunter (2012-11-30 04:22:35)
@digit I actually thought about an ms surface for my BYOD day job. You know, to quarantine all the ms nastiness to one stompable location.
Last edited by rstrcogburn (2012-12-05 03:35:48)
Pack em in snow!
I was very happy with my Acer Iconia a100. Its was a tegra dual core with 1 gig of ram.
It played every movie format i threw at it with MX Player. It worked smoothly.Before i sold it. it updated to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Now i have a full sized Asus Transformer. Ive owned 3 tablets now,And what ive learned about android is.Its just like Linux,Its all what you make of it. Everything from Honeycomb till now i feel has worked pretty well for me.
^ Heavy!! O_O
I assume you used your new bluetooth keyboard. If you intend to do a lot of typing on the touchscreen, you might want to give the Swiftkey Tablet Keyboard a try. Costs about $5 (I got it for 99cents when the Play Store was having a sale a couple of months ago). Skeptical at first, but (imho) it's truly much better than the stock keyboard.
Point & Squirt